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This week, a not-for-profit hunters advocacy group, Hunters For Deer, Inc. (HFD), won a decisive victory in the Second Department based on New York’s preemption doctrine.  In Hunters for Deer, Inc. v Town of Smithtown, ____AD3d  (August 18, 2020) the Appellate Division settled a conflict preemption argument between State and local government regulations upholding the State’s authority to regulate
Continue Reading New York State Environmental Conservation Law Preempts Local Municipality Hunting Restrictions in New York

Last week, New York’s State Legislature passed a bill (A10001) seeking to amend NYS Environmental Conservation Law (“ECL”) §23-2703 in order to protect Long Island’s sole source aquifer.  The amendment would allow local governments in Nassau and Suffolk counties the ability to prohibit sand mining operations where it is determined that mining is “inconsistent with water quality protection and public
Continue Reading Long Island Sand Mining Further Undermined By State Legislature Bill

In the Matter of Giora Neeman v Town of Warwick, __AD3d__, 2020 NY Slip Op 03112, the Second Department recently declared that a development agreement entered into between the respondent/defendant Black Bear Family Campgrounds, Inc. (“BBFC”) and respondent/defendant, Town of Warwick, (“Town”) as part of a settlement of a separate civil proceeding, constituted illegal contract zoning, and was therefore,
Continue Reading Municipal Development Agreement: Found To Be Illegal Contract Zoning

As many of us continue to cocoon inside our homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, avoiding supermarkets and anyone else for that matter, Long Island farms are seeing a resurgence in interest for locally grown produce and agricultural products.  In some ways farmers are sometimes better off than town and city dwellers., because farmers can produce much of their own food
Continue Reading Long Island Farmland Protection and the COVID-19 pandemic

The public health crisis created by COVID-19 has forced municipal officials statewide to cancel, suspend or postpone previously scheduled public hearings and meetings.  How do public bodies conduct their necessary business during these uncertain times?  Below is a brief analysis and summary of what options are available.

Background

On March 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order Number 202 declaring
Continue Reading Coronavirus & The Open Meetings Law: How To Hold Public Meetings During The COVID-19 Pandemic

BANG!  Yaphank, New York.  In November 2019, after years of protracted ligation, Hunter Sports Shooting Grounds, Inc., (“HSSG”) the operator of the Suffolk County Skeet, Trap & Sporting Clays Range (“Range”), was dealt another blow by the Supreme Court, Suffolk County in Hunter Sports Shooting Grounds, Inc. v Foley.

Acquired by Suffolk County (“County”), in 1963 , the Range
Continue Reading Suffolk County Trap And Skeet Range May Be Silenced By Town Noise Ordinance

Legal pre-existing nonconforming uses (aka grandfathered uses) have a tenuous existence in New York.  Although protected by vested property rights in the Constitution, many local zoning ordinances seek to eliminate these vestigial uses with regulations that hinge on continual use.  The allowance of nonconforming uses by the courts has been grudgingly tolerated, with the ultimate goal of the zoning code
Continue Reading Nonconforming Uses – Don’t Abandon Them

The Long Island Central Pine Barrens Protection Act (“Act”), enacted in 1993, created the Central Pine Barrens  Joint Planning & Policy Commission (“Commission”) which implements the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (“Plan”).  Pursuant to the Act, a five-member Credit Clearinghouse Board (“Clearinghouse”) oversees a transfer of development rights program designed to maintain value in lands by providing for use and allocation
Continue Reading Pine Barrens Credits-A Matter of Interpretation

Builders, developers and property owners are often cited for zoning violations that become the subject of criminal enforcement proceedings in court (i.e. appearance tickets).  Certainly, a party can have the court decide the matter, however, an appeal to a Board of Zoning Appeals can be used to stay any and all court enforcement proceedings.  This can be a particularly useful
Continue Reading Stopping A Zoning Enforcement Action In Court

In Abbatiello v Town of North Hempstead, 164 A.D.3d 785 [2d Dept. 2018], the Second Department recently reversed Supreme Court, Nassau County and granted the petitioner’s CPLR Article 78 challenge to the Town of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals (“Board”) denial of a use variance.  In finding that the house was a “legal nonconforming” 2-family residence, the Appellate
Continue Reading Appellate Division Reverses North Hempstead Denial of Pre-Existing Nonconforming Two-Family Home In Business District